Category: advocacy


2014 disAbilities Expo Summary


The 5th annual disAbilities Expo was held on May 10, 2014 at the War Memorial Coliseum. This year there were over 90 exhibitors making this the one-stop resource event for individuals with disabilities. Throughout the day providers were available to answer questions regarding their services and products while fun and entertaining events took place throughout the hall.


Thank you to all of our music and recreation therapist and behavior consultants who assisted with this years Expo. Throughout the day various local, regional, and national companies representing a variety of serves and products were on hand to answer questions related to resources to enhance ones quality of life. Several events occurred in the Sports Center which included the Turnstone Flyers Wheelchair Basketball and Power Soccer. On the main stage the Jesters performed an excerpt from an original work "Horse Tales." Additional albums from the Expo events which have been posted on FBS page include Zot Artz, Dazzlers Cheerleading, Handicap This!, and Premiere Dance Performances

An accomplished artist, Dwayne has combined his passion for arts, mechanics, and disabilities to make art accessible to everyone. Zot Artz started in 1990 with funding from the National Endowment of the Arts and the Rockefeller Foundation. Zot Artz provides a unique way for individuals with disabilities to have the opportunity to participate in the " painting wheelchair" along with many other adaptive tools.


Winners of the 2014 U.S. Finals Special Needs Division, the Whitley County Dazzlers (Columbia City) return to the disabilities Expo with their award-winning routine.


Changing the way you think about disabilities is at the heart of Mike Berkson and Tim Wamback's work. Mike, born with cerebral palsy, is smart quick witted and wise beyond is 20-somethign years. Tim meet Mike when he became his aide more than 10 years ago and the two have been together ever since. In 2010 Handicap This! stage performance was born which chronicles Mike and Tim's friendship.


The Soul Brothers and Souls Sisters performed at this years disAbilities Expo.



disAbilities Expo 2014


The AWS Foundation is hosting the 5th annual disAbilities Expo on Saturday, May 10 from 10am - 4pm. Not only will you find plentiful resources at the Expo, you'll also enjoy the talents of individuals with many exceptional abilities.

  • University of Saint Francis Jesters performing a rendition of their 2014 performance "Horse Tales" along with an interactive percussion circle.
  • Whitley County Dazzlers Cheerleaders, who for the second consecutive year won the Cheer Ltd. Special Needs Nationals.
  • The Soul Brothers and Soul Sisters from Premiere Dance Company literally show off their dancing talents in highly entertaining performances to the music of Jailhouse Rock and Let's Dance.
  • Turnstone Flyers adaptive sports exhibitions and games - wheelchair basketball, power soccer and a new adaptive golf cart.
  • Special guests - Dwayne Szot, founder of Zot Artz for special needs artists, and Handicap This! A comedy duo whose humor about disabilities will surely surprise you.
The event will be held at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum
We hope to see you there!


disAbilities Expo 2013


We would like to thank everyone who came out to the 4th annual disAbilities Expo on May 11 where there were nearly 100 exhibits to provide information and services for individuals with disabilities. Performances, fashion shows, and sporting events were hosted throughout the day showcasing area groups that focus on providing individuals with disabilities the opportunity to participate in a variety of events and experiences.

Special guest this year included Sam Schmidt (former Indy race car driver), Mark Wellman (adventure athlete and motivational speaker), AMP 1 (national team of amputees playing stand-up basket ball. In addition area mascots from our local Fort Wayne teams including the Fort Wayne Komets and Mad Ants. Premiere Dance's very own Soul Brothers and recently developed Soul Sisters dance group each performed throughout the day.

We would like to thank everyone for attending and we hope to see you next year at the 5th annual disAbilites expo




The Association for Indiana Music Therapy shared with us today that: Indianapolis, IN - Governor Mike Pence today vetoed HEA 1242 requiring licenses for diabetes educators and SEA 273, which created a license requirement for anesthesiologist assistants and dietitians, as well as state certification for music therapists.

“Lower taxes and less regulation, including fewer licensing requirements, will mean more jobs for Hoosiers,” said Pence. “I am vetoing these licensing bills because I believe they create barriers to the marketplace for Hoosiers and restrict competition.”

Over the last ten years, licensing has exploded in Indiana. In 2004 approximately 340,000 Hoosiers held a professional license. Today there are more than 470,000, representing a 38 percent increase. Indiana’s population has increased seven percent in that same time period.

“I have been willing to sign licensing legislation that opens new opportunities for employment or streamlines existing practices and procedures, and I will continue to do so,” said Pence. “However, the bills that I am vetoing today do not meet that standard.”

In this session, Governor Pence proposed restructuring the existing Regulated Occupation Evaluation Committee to reduce artificial barriers to employment. The new ERASER Committee would have helped reform licensing in Indiana by performing a “sunrise” review of new occupational license legislation. Further, it would have established a process to automatically sunset unnecessary licenses, permits and certifications.

“I will continue to work with members of the General Assembly as we pursue efforts to reduce red tape and reform licensing in Indiana, because less regulation will mean more jobs for Hoosiers,” said Pence.

We have been instructed to contact to voice our concerns and disappointment with this decision.

Susie Spar

Director of Constituent Services for Governor Mike Pence


As a waiver provider we will continue to guarantee that all music therapists employed at our agency are board certified music therapist, not only because it is a 460 IAC requirement but because it is imperative that music therapy services be offered by a trained and experienced professional.

SB 273, Professions and Occupations


SB 273, Professions and Occupations

The House Bill 1051 has moved on to the Senate for continued review and approval. On April 17 music therapy language in the house bill was voted on and the amendment passed with 82 Yeas. The bill is now in conference committee before if will go up for a vote in the senate. Here is a clip from the changes to the amendment which was recently passed. It is often that you see the house members singing out the request and changes. Rep. Crouch Serenades the House of Representatives


Help Us Protect Recreation Therapy: Call to Action!!!!!


Fellow Recreation Therapists, Recreation Therapy Students, Indiana Recreation Therapy Educators, Parents with children with Special Needs, Music Therapists, Behavior Consultants, and Case Managers, and supportive Colleagues from related disciplines.

We need your help!!!

The Recreation Therapists of Indiana State Public Policy team just discovered that the Occupational Therapists (OT's) are attempting to get an amendment passed which would re-define the definition of OT in the state of Indiana. This revised definition INFRINGES ON THE SCOPE OF RECREATIONAL THERAPY PRACTICE!!!

It was discovered TODAY that the Occupational Therapists have put forth a bill that passed through the House that re-defines the scope of OT practice!!!!

We are targeting the following Senators who serve on this committee for immediate action!!!!!! However you can still contact Senators in your services area to inform them of the issues related to HB1152. If you are unsure of who your senator is you may follow the link listed below:

Senate Committee on Health and Provider Relations

Vaneta Becker
Rodric Bray
Ron Grooms
Jean Leising
Pete Miller
Ryan Mishler
Jean Breaux
Frank Mrvan
Mark Stoops
Greg Taylor

House Bill (HB) 1152 bill currently states:

Occupational therapy services means services that are provided to promote health and wellness, prevent disability, preserve functional capabilities, prevent barriers for occupational performance from occurring, and enable or improve performance in everyday activities, including services that do the following:

(1) Establish, remediate, or restore a skill or ability that is impaired or not yet developed. Occupational therapy services include identifying speech, language, and hearing that is developed bit does not include the remediation of these skill and abilities.

(2) Modify or adapt a person or an activity or environment of a person or compensate for a loss of a person’s functions.

(3) Evaluate factors that affect daily living activities, instrumental activities of daily living, and other activities relating to work, play, leisure, education, and social participation. These factors may include body functions, body structure, habits, routines, role performance, ehavior patterns, sensory motor skills, cognitive skills, communication and interaction skills, and cultural, physical, psychosocial, spiritual, developmental, environmental, and socioeconomic contexts and activities that affect performance.

(4)Perform interventions and procedures relating to the factors described in subdivision (3), including the following:

a. Task analysis and therapeutic use of occupations, exercises and activities.

b. Education and training in self-care, self-management, home management, and community or work reintegration.

The highlighted information above is an INFRINGEMENT OF THE SCOPE OF RECREATIONAL THERAPY PRACTICE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

NOW is the time to act!!!! Call your Senator TODAY and tell them YOU ARE A CONSTITUENT and you are OPPOSED TO THIS BILL AND YOU WANT THEM TO VOTE AGAINST IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You can also tell them that in the event this language stays as is, it will impact over 350 Recreational Therapists in the state of Indiana!!!

*Ask your friends and family to also call and express their concern and ask the Senator to vote against this bill!!! The more calls, the more the Senators will be aware of the seriousness of this bill and the impact to our profession!

I have included a sample phone/email script to use when calling/emailing your senators. Dial 317-232-9400 or 800-382-9467

Ask for your Senator’s office.

When you are connected to the Senator’s office, ask to speak to the Legislative Assistant if possible. If they are not available, ask to leave a message for them.

You can read the following to them!!

“Hello, my name is________ and I am a constituent of Senator _________ and I am calling regarding House bill 1152 that will be heard by the Health and Provider Relations committee in a couple of weeks and could soon come to the Senate floor for a vote. I am a arent/therapists/colleage/recreation therapy student/Nationally Certified Recreational Therapist and am a member of
Recreational Therapists of Indiana. The bill I am calling about includes an amendment to Indiana Code that changes the definition of Occupational Therapy. Unfortunately this new definition infringes on the scope of practice for Recreational Therapy and I am asking for you to vote against this bill. The definition listed in Section 2, point 3 includes the words “play and leisure” which is what a Recreational Therapist specializes in. We would like to see these words deleted from this section OR see a statement added that states “This definition of Occupational Therapy DOES NOT preclude the practice of Recreational Therapy. I thank you for your time and attention to this matter, should you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at ______.”

***If they ask, you are one of over 300 Recreational Therapists that this could have an impact on. Thank you for your Support!


Help Us Advocate for Music Therapy!!!


Fellow Music Therapists, Music Therapy Students, Indiana Music Therapy Educators, Parents of children with special needs, Recreation Therapists, Behavior Consultants, Case Managers, and supportive Colleagues from related disciplines:

House Bill 1051 is headed to the Indiana Senate!! This bill focuses on recognizing music therapy as a health profession with services provided only by a trained professional. This bill will ensure that music therapy services are not being provided throughout the state of Indiana by anyone who is not a Music Therapist- Board Certified.

This bill, authored by Rep Suzanne Crouch of District 78 (Evansville), passed through the House Committee with UNANIMOUS support and then through the full House with a vote of 80-14 on January 29th!

This bill is now set to move to the Senate very soon. Senator Veneta Becker will be sponsoring the bill in the Senate. We need YOUR HELP to educate the other Indiana Senators about this bill and the field of music therapy. We need your help to get the word out!

If you would like to help us ensure that music therapy services are recognized in the state of Indiana as only being provided by a Board Certified music therapist you can contact your senator today and ask them to VOTE YES for House Bill 1051. You can find out who your legislator is and their contact information at the link below.

To find your legislator, go to this
link... Locate State Senator

Thank You for your help and assistance in helping music therapy become a recognized health profession in Indiana!!!